Album Reviews

Testament – Dark Roots of the Earth Review

Released by: Nuclear Blast Records

Release Date: Out Now!!!

Genre: Trash Metal

Links: http://www.testamentlegions.com/

 

 Line Up:

Chuck Billy – Vocals

Eric Peterson – Guitar

Alex Skolnick – Guitar

Greg Christian – Bass

Gene Hoglan – Drums

 

Tracklist:

01. Rise Up

02. Native Blood

03. Dark Roots Of Earth

04. True American Hate

05. A Day In The Death

06. Cold Embrace

07. Man Kills Mankind

08. Throne Of Thorns

09. Last Stand For Independence

 

Of all the classic thrash bands not in the Big Four that are still making music, there are only a handful that are still doing it just as well, if not better, than they did back in the day. Overkill and Exodus have continuously put out top notch thrash metal that holds up nicely with their past catalog, but one that does it best of all would have to be Testament, especially since the return of guitar master Alex Skolnick. The band was plagued with line-up changes and singer Chuck Billy’s cancer recovery, but now they’re back together and have just released their second release since the reunion for Nuclear Blast entitled Dark Roots of the Earth. I thought The Formation of Damnation, their first reunion release, was absolutely the best thing they’d done in many years, and wondered if they would be able to top it. Any fears I may have had quickly washed away when I started listening to the new album.

Easily this could be their finest album ever. Hard and brutal, yet they experiment with some slower more melodic stuff on this offering, particularly on the title track and “Cold Embrace.” Yet unlike their foray into the lighter side back in the day with “The Ballad,” it’s not wimpy. Chuck’s vocals are stronger than ever, and the guitar duo of Skolnick and Eric Peterson demonstrates what masterful abilities mixed with perfect chemistry can create. I realize that some will find something to complain about with sections being a little mellower, but if you stop to give it a chance without judging it immediately, you’ll see that no matter whether they’re playing straight out thrash metal or taking it down slightly, they’re still brutal as hell. “Throne Of Thorns,” “Rise Up,” “Last Stand of Independence,” and “True American Hate” should shut any possible detractor up. If you’re lucky enough to get the deluxe edition you get excellent covers of Queen’s “Dragon Attack,” Iron Maiden’s “Powerslave,” the Scorpion’s “Animal Magnetism,” and an extended version of “Throne Of Thorns,” plus a cool DVD.

Fans of the band should get this album if they haven’t already. It’s the perfect follow-up to The Formation of Damnation, and keeps them on the path that has made them one of the most important thrash bands since its inception. It’s great to see these guys back together and better than ever. You can definitely tell from the quality of music they’re fresh and excited to be playing together again. Let’s hope it stays that way for many years to come.

 

Written by Chris

Ratings    Chris    9/10

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